This is one of a series of lessons on homicide, and it deals with the topic of felony murder. At common law, one way to commit murder was to show that defendant caused the death of another during commission of a felony (the so-called "felony murder doctrine"). This lesson examines that doctrine. It is intended for students who have studied the doctrine in class and who seek to refine their knowledge and understanding of the doctrine.
On completion of the lesson, the student will be able to:
1. Define murder under common law.
2. State the mens rea requirement for felony murder.
3. Compare the application of the felony murder doctrine at common law and under modern codes.
4. Analyze how modern courts and legislatures have modified or altered the common law approach to felony murder.
5. Discuss the Model Penal Code’s approach to the felony murder doctrine.